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October 23, 2017

Can’t Lose Racing

It was a do-good, feel-good, sail-good kind of day. San Francisco Yacht Club’s 12th annual Pacific Union Leukemia Cup Regatta made for a stunning day on the water, as well as another stunning result on the fundraising mission. 

Regatta chair Chris Kostanecki — who has been living with leukemia for 20 years — topped the fundraising board by raising a whopping $150,000 to help cure blood cancers, while also taking second in class aboard his J/70 Jennifer on Sunday. He’s also raced the J/70 Worlds in Porto Cervo and the Etchells Worlds at SFYC, and is a testament to the value of progress in blood cancer research. In total, the regatta raised over $870,000 for the cause and has raised over $7 million in its 12-year history.

A good looking fleet circled the starting area on Sunday before the gun finally went off.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Sunday was race day and saw sparkly-clear conditions. Every sailor was happy to take deep lungfuls of crisp, smoke-free, fall air. The race committee and almost 100 boats were on station for the noontime start, with a pleasant northerly keeping every boat sailing with enough speed to fight the flood and exchange midday greetings during the pre-start.

Despite the comfortable breeze, the race committee bet on the forecast westerly and withstood the impatient taunts from competitors ready to race. Their bet paid off after an almost hour-and-a-half delay when an even nicer westerly filled in while the flood faded. 

Water Witch and Royono were the Class 1 start and the classiest boats in the fleet.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Bartz Schneider offered charitable guidance from the committee boat and got all 10 classes off to Yellow Bluff with the exception of the two classics, Royono and Water Witch, who started with varnish glistening on a reach to Blackaller.

The course went around buoys at Yellow Bluff and Blossom Rock, with the finish off Knox and then back to SFYC for music, trophies and celebration of another successful year for the charity regatta. Gary Jobson, national chair for the Leukemia Cup — and a leukemia survivor — was on hand for the trophies. He announced that the Bay Area Leukemia Cup has been the top fundraising event nationwide for almost a decade, but also happily noted that a couple of other events have hit the $500,000 mark. Gary wanted to remind all eager fundraisers there are always competitors nipping at your heels.

And, despite all the feel-good notions of the day, racing results still matter. You can find them here. But fund raising results count too, and fundraising pages are still open. If you wish you’d contributed and haven’t, you can still add to that impressive tally by contributing to any team here.

If you’re looking for a do-/feel-/sail- good event to transition from fall sailing to midwinters next year, you should put the 2018 Leukemia Cup on your schedule. 

The Larry Cup

What would you do if you wanted to amp up the drama surrounding the America’s Cup? More lawsuits? Reality TV shows from each team’s compound? 

Or how about another regatta entirely?

Rumor has it that Larry Ellison is starting his own world sailing circuit, according to a story from the Register. "According to yachting commentator Rob Mundle, Ellison is planning a world series with events held across the world. In a report on his website based on what he described as ‘reliable sources’, Mundle said teams from the USA, Sweden, Japan and France are now ‘committed to the event.’"

The man with the . . . rumored plan? "Oracle CTO Larry Ellison is reportedly launching his own world boat racing title — just months after his team was spanked at this year’s America’s Cup," the Register reported. 

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Register did not specify what type of boats would be used, but Ellison’s penchant for multihulls is well-known.

Muddle reported that the prize of the event would be provided by Louis Vuitton, which had been the namesake of the Challenger Series since 1983, and a longtime sponsor of the America’s Cup (the new Challenger Regatta will reportedly be called the ‘Prada Cup’).

Bay Area software magnate and multi-gazillionaire Ellison has not been especially popular with San Francisco sailors since 2013, when his Oracle Team USA staged one of the most dramatic comebacks in sports history, and won the hearts of even the most recalcitrant Cup fans. But after that stunning victory, Ellison decided to move the Cup to Bermuda — a move that was seen as largely financial.

But others (Including some of our readers) blame the City of San Francisco for not fully supporting and ultimately capitalizing on the event.  

Maybe the foiling cats will have a place in the ‘Larry Cup’.

© 2017 Ricardo Pinto ACEA

So if the ‘Larry Cup’ came to San Francisco, would you go see it? We’d like to know.


Sailing with Spirit

There are lots of treasures scattered among our monthly Classy Classifieds. As you look through the boats, you find each has a story and heritage, as well as a future waiting to happen.

George pointed to his Classy Classified at his Berkeley architecture specialty bookstore on Fourth Street, Builders Book Source, where you can pick up the current copy of Latitude 38.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

While looking through the ads this past month, we noted one of the Bay Area’s most traveled and storied boats is up for sail. If her hull could talk you’d have stories to last several lifetimes. Built for George Kiskaddon Sr. in 1960, the wood 33-ft Sparkman and Stephens Spirit is now for sale (despite the pun in the ad) by his son George and former crew, who’ve owned her for the past five years.

Spirit was possibly the first Northern California boat to race in Europe, and was sailed by folks like Doug Peterson, Ron Holland, Tom Wylie, Derek Baylis, Robert Flowerman, Gary Mull and Bill Green. In the 60s she was sailed engineless to the East Coast and in the Transatlantic Race. Later racing with George Sr. and Jr., 11 year old brother John, Doug Peterson, Jim Leech and Ron Holland the boat did the 1970 Tahiti race before going on to New Zealand! Since then, and under many owners, including Bay Area legend Peter Sutter, she sailed countless more miles around the planet. 

Spirit shows her lines dockside at Richmond Yacht Club. You wouldn’t believe the miles she’s sailed and the stories she could tell.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

You might have spotted Spirit in our October classifieds in the middle of page 137. You can also check out some photos here, or see her at her berth in Richmond. 

George says she has plenty more miles to sail on the Bay, or to follow in the wake of her many earlier exploits.

San Diego Delivers Extreme Sailing

Team Extreme San Diego, skippered by Santa Cruz native Morgan Larson, sails close to shore during racing in San Diego.

© 2017 Lloyd Images

Act 8 of the Extreme Sailing Series is now in the books, and San Diego delivered the goods in wholesale fashion. Just as forecast, the breeze filled in after Day 1 of racing with San Diego Bay providing perfect conditions for the GC32 foiling catamarans during the final three days of the series’ first-ever stop in San Diego. Breezy conditions and flat water provided plenty of action for the throngs of fans who showed up to view the regatta from both Harbor Island and the USS Midway. When the dust settled it was the Danish-flagged SAP Extreme Sailing Team, skippered by Kiwi Adam Minoprio, standing on the top step of the podium after a hard-fought battle with the Swiss Alinghi syndicate, skippered by Swiss sailor Arnaud Psarofaghis.

Spectators watched the ‘stadium racing’ from shore in brilliant sunshine on a warm San Diego fall day.

© Lloyd Images

After 25 races over four days, the battle between SAP Extreme and Alinghi came down to the final race — a double-points affair — to determine the weekend’s winner. SAP Extreme extended their lead in the championship over Oman Air to six points, while Alinghi’s second-place result allowed them to claw two points back from Oman Air in the overall 2017 season championship, to sit just one point astern of the Omani syndicate. While SAP Extreme’s championship lead has become a bit more secure, the season’s final event in Cabo San Lucas will be a double-points event, ensuring that the three top teams all have a fighting chance to win the 2017 title. The series will visit Mexico for the first time ever on November 30-December 3.

The boats look like a smaller version of the AC45F catamarans used for the America’s Cup World Series.

© Lloyd Images

For the American sailors onboard Team Extreme San Diego and Lupe Tortilla Demetrio, San Diego was a humbling event, with the two American teams bringing up the rear of the fleet with Team Extreme San Diego finishing in seventh overall for the weekend and Lupe Tortilla Demetrio in eighth. A technical issue forced Land Rover BAR Academy to miss two races on the final day, which allowed Morgan Larson and Team Extreme San Diego to pull tantalizingly close to the British team, coming up just three points short of moving into sixth place for the weekend.

In addition to the foiling GC32 cats, a fleet of foiling kiteboards sailed 13 races over four days with Frenchman Axel Mazella storming to a commanding victory. The Bay Area’s Johnny Heineken worked his way up through the fleet after a slow start to earn a spot on the podium in the 15-strong fleet. 

When Rimas Meleshyus didn’t show up anywhere in the South Pacific after he departed Hawaii in June, we feared the worst.